Get Rid of Home Pests: Identify Common Household Pests and Ways to Remove Them

One inevitable consequence of having a cozy and comfortable home is that it will become an inviting habitat for creepy and crawly pests, including all manner of insects and rodents. When your home is shared by these often unseen invaders, they pose dangers to your personal hygiene and health. To make matters worse, they can even be poisonous if they manage to insert themselves in the process of food preparation. In this article, we will discuss the most common household pests in Malaysian homes and ways to eliminate them. Additionally, we will provide you with preventive measures to keep your homes unwelcoming to these little nuisances.

Types of pests in Malaysian Homes and How to Get Rid of Them

Cockroaches

What are they?

The German Cockroach and the American Cockroach are the most common cockroach species in Malaysia. However, they favour sweet and starchy foods over other sorts of meals. Keep an eye out for them in dark, moist, and secluded locations, such as behind kitchen equipment or behind kitchen cabinets.

You should also inspect the bathrooms and roof voids, since these may be hiding places for cockroaches and other similar insects. Droppings, smear marks, molted skin, egg cases, unpleasant odor and damage on food packs are all signs of cockroaches' presence in your home.

How to get rid of them?

Because cockroaches reproduce so fast, eradicating them can be difficult. There are likely hundreds or perhaps thousands of cockroaches lurking just out of sight by the time you spot one. Water, food, and hiding spots are all that cockroaches require to survive among us. So start raiding their mini homes and make them living in yours harder for them.

1. The first place to look for is behind the refrigerator, dishwasher and under the sink. All surfaces should be wiped clean and pet water and food bowls should be emptied at night. Fill in gaps and cracks around cabinetry, floors, walls and windows with caulk, expanding foam sealant or pieces of sheet metal to cover them up. Cockroaches can squeeze through openings as small as 3.18mm around plumbing pipes and electrical wires.

2. Wipe off the shelves and cabinets of your food storage area. Airtight food containers can be used to store dry foods like cereals, biscuits and chips. To keep your ovens, toasters and stove free of crumbs and grease, clean them on a regular basis so as to not attract these scavengers.

3. As soon as you have destroyed the cockroaches' sources of food and water, you may launch an extermination campaign to rid your house of the pests. A wide variety of lethal cockroach sprays exist, however, many of them run away and return after the spray loses its potency, making the poisonous sprays less effective.

4. Get into the nooks and crannies using boric acid dusting powder. Boric-acid tablets or cockroach bait stations should be placed in the kitchen base cabinets and behind the appliances. In addition, place glue traps around the floor, or where you notice cockroaches had been before, to catch them.

You can watch this video about completely natural ways to keep cockroaches out of your house for good:

Flies

What are they?

The fly is the most common insect in and near residences. It doesn’t just happen in Malaysia; pretty much the whole world has this issue at home. Flies are not just a bothersome pest that buzzes around your house, they may also carry diseases and contaminate your food. They have short lifespans, but they may reproduce in great numbers fast, resulting in large populations if not controlled properly.

Housefly eggs resemble small grains of rice. The eggs, which are normally laid on exposed food, will hatch into larvae, also known as maggots. Maggots are cream-coloured with a greasy appearance and range in size from about 7-10 mm long.

How to get rid of them?

The easiest way to get rid of this flying insect is to use a multi-level strategy. The first step is to make sure that all windows and doors are properly weather-stripped and closed. Fix any holes or tears in the window screens as well. While insect sprays can be used to get rid of a wide variety of pests, many of them just fly away and reappear when the air clears.

1. For years, the sticky flypaper has been the go-to method for catching flying insects. When you observe bugs flying around, simply hang the sticky paper and wait for them to land on it. In the event that flies are gathering around your windows, you may want to consider window fly traps. After adhering transparent plastic sheet to the glass, peel off the protective layer to uncover the bug-trapping adhesion.

2. Cover a bowl of rotting fruits with plastic wrap to get rid of fruit flies and gnats. Using a round toothpick, pierce the plastic numerous times. The bugs will crawl through the openings because they are drawn to the fermenting fruits. They will not be able to fly out of the bowl once they've entered it. Ha, got ‘em!

3. Another approach to catching flying insects is to use a net. Pour a cup of warm water, four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of sugar and 12 drops of liquid dish soap into a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Place the bowl in the open and mix thoroughly. The gnats will be drawn to the sugar and vinegar aroma, but the dish soap will capture them once they land.

Watch this video below to know the several easy ways to get rid of these pesky critters:

Termites

What are they?

Termites are silent, cellulose-eating scavengers. Termites may feed on the cellulose found in most buildings and residences, which can lead to an infestation. Malaysia’s most prevalent termite species are known as subterranean, dry wood and damp wood.

Signs of infestation include temporary swarming of winged insects in your home, termite droppings, mud tubes on walls and discarded wings from swarmers.

How to get rid of them?

Infestation of termites may be devastating for your home as they devour wood structures at a rapid rate. Professional exterminators are your best bet if you're dealing with a very severe infestation. However, in most circumstances, there are a number of home remedies that are efficient in killing termites.

1. Spray a ring of poison around the wood structures of your house to create a lethal barrier to these intruders. If a termite comes into contact with the poisonous liquid, it will either die or transport it back to the colony, where it will infect other termites. You may use a pump-up garden sprayer to apply the concentrated poison. If you’re living in a landed home, a 15x15cm trench should be dug around the perimeter of the home and sprayed with the poison if you’re detecting a termites presence. 

2. In order to destroy termites in a more environmentally friendly approach, use boric acid. Spray the fine powder directly onto termite-damaged wood and into cracks, holes in walls, floors and ceilings. It takes just a few days for the termites to die from the acid attack inflicted on their digestive tracts.

Check out this video for more home termites extermination remedies that are safe for your home and furniture:

Rats

What are they?

In Malaysia, Black Rats and Brown Rats are two of the most common rodent pests. Rat droppings, bite marks and rat nests are all signs of a rat problem. Check kitchens, bathrooms, attics, lofts, hollow walls and other places that haven't been disturbed. It is very annoying to have rats around since they don’t only eat your food, they also destroy your possessions! Rats may be too difficult for some people to handle due to their size so you should hire a pest control service to get a good diagnosis of the situation at home and get a treatment plan put into place.

How to get rid of them?

Even if you make every effort to keep rats out, they can still get in unnoticed. Once you pick up on signs that you have unwelcomed guests in your house, you would need to be quick in removing them before they multiply and starts having Jerry babies roaming around!

1. In order to prevent rats infestation from spreading or even forming in the first place, it's best to keep your house rodent-proof. Protect your house from rats by removing sources of entrance and making it difficult for them to get in. Their ability to fit itself into the tiniest of spaces (around 6.35mm!) makes this a challenge.

2. Seal cracks and holes in the walls, as well as utility pipes and vents. You can get away with using steel wool and caulking in this situation. Sealants should not be made of materials that rats may readily chew through, such as plastic, rubber, or wood. When you close your door, make sure that the sweep on the door seals against the threshold when it's closed. You can also get weather stripping for door and window gaps to block their entrance.

3. Mousetraps are the most effective method for eradicating a continuing infestation of rats. Keep in mind that most people misjudge the extent of a rats infestation, and the standard wooden snap traps will do the business for light to moderate rats population only. To catch a single rodent, you may set a dozen traps, but the more you use, the higher the chances. In addition to the wooden traps, use bait traps, multiple-capture live traps and adhesive traps to catch these pests. This increases your chances of catching all of the rodents, as some may be wary of specific types of traps and hence, avoid them.

4. Get a real pet - cats! Rats are a favorite prey for many cats. Dogs, too, can get in on the act. With pets, you may have the best chance of catching a rat without a scratch on your hand. If you don't already have a pet, this would be a good time to give one a try. This form of rodent control is a common practice on many farms due to its proven effectiveness. 

Check out this guy creating a DIY mousetrap using simple items like a bucket, cardboard, stone, screw, among others:

Ants

What are they?

Black House Ant, Fire Ant and Ghost Ant are the most common ones in Malaysia. Despite the fact that most of these ants just eat food and do not destroy property, they can still be a bother to humans. Ants can transmit salmonella as they forage on kitchen trash, waste and even dog faeces.

An ant infestation can be detected by ant trails and ant nests hidden in walls or other concealed spots.

How to get rid of them?

All ant species are social insects, living in large communities of hundreds or even millions of ants, headed by a queen who lays eggs. If you want to eradicate the ants for good, you'll have to get rid of the entire colony, including the queens and their eggs.

1. Go on the prowl. The first step is to figure out why the ants are attracted to the area in the first place. There's always a source, whether it's bread crumbs falling under your bed or an unwashed spoon in the sink. If you're lucky, your new “housemates” will leave on their own once you clean up the mess that drew them in.

2. Stop the “scouting” ants and put an end to it. Scout ants use pheromones to find food. If you just sweep them away, you won't get rid of them since they leave behind their own path. Using a one-to-three water-to-vinegar ratio, you can get rid of their little track. Spray it wherever you find ants.

3. Set your sights on the target. Mix water and peppermint or lavender oil (two fragrances ants despise) and spray the mixture on access points such as windowsills or door frames to naturally eradicate ants. Look for a product that contains boric acid, or if you opt to use a chemical method, carefully read the directions. There are a few that can be dangerous to pets and children, so be careful with that.

4. Set out ant repellents, but resist the impulse to kill any ants that come through. Don’t kill, let them self-annihilate. They'll perform all the hard work for you and return the toxic bait to their own nest.

In this video, there is a list of other natural remedies you can use to eliminate ants:

Bedbugs

What are they?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals during the night. They are oval in shape, 5-6 mm in length and red-brown in colour. They have no wings and feed by sucking via their pointed mouth.

Their eggs are white, but when they hatch, they get darker. Crevices and cracks, headboards, torn wallpaper and under carpets are the most common places where they may be discovered. They like to eat at night, although they may go for months without eating. If your clothes or baggage contain even one active female bed insect, you can get bed bugs from traveling.

How to get rid of them?

Bedbugs leave a lot of tell-tale signs on the mattress or the area around them. Check for black dots, which are most likely bug excrement, or eggshells that are pale yellow in colour and only 1mm in size. There are some tricks you can try out to get rid of the bedbugs with home remedies.

1. After washing and drying your linens and other fabric-based goods, put them in a tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes on the highest setting. You may also dry clean all of the contaminated things. This will rid your linens of any bedbugs or their eggs that may be lurking there.

2. Make it a habit to vacuum your mattress and other bedding on a regular basis, as well as your couch and other furnishings. After cleaning, promptly dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag in the garbage bin outside your home.

3. In contrast to what we consider pleasant plants like lavender, mint, eucalyptus and lemongrass, most animals (even bedbugs) despise the scent. For a natural deterrent, scatter these fresh or dried herbs around your home to keep them away.

4. When it comes to killing bedbugs quickly, rubbing alcohol is one of the most efficient approaches. As a desiccant (or drying agent), it can also assist in killing bedbug eggs and adults by drying them out.

5. Lastly, vinegar may also be used to kill bedbugs. You may use white distilled vinegar on anything that appears to be infested with bedbugs and then spray it heavily over them. As a result, they will not be able to flee the vinegar sprays.  Despite the fact that vinegar can kill bedbugs by weakening their nervous system, it cannot kill their eggs.

Home Depot has a comprehensive guide on how rid of bedbugs, including how to set up and position your bed properly so as to avoid a bedbugs infestation. Check out the video here:

How to make your home “pest-(not-so)-friendly”?

Although you can’t make your home completely pest-proof, you can try to incorporate some preventive measures as part of your home maintenance routines. This might make your home less susceptible to pest infestations and naturally repel these living nuisances. These are some approaches you can look into:

Keep a sharp lookout on early signs of infestation

Insects can appear to have extraterrestrial “talents” (cockroaches are said to be able to survive a nuclear war) but they can't pull some magic tricks by emerging out of nowhere. To prevent them from infiltrating your space, keep an eye out for warning indications of their presence.

For example, as mentioned earlier, ants would send out "scouts" to assess your home's ant-friendliness. You might think a couple of ants won’t be such a big deal, but you could be wrong. Don’t take it lightly because their presence, albeit in small number, might signal that it's time to act on it before those scouts invite their pals over. Then the infestation begins and will cause more work for you.

Look outdoor to see where the bugs congregate. Wood can attract ants and termites, so keep it a little distance away from your home. Still water is also a mosquito breeding site. Even your landscaping could be a concern where you may need to keep branches and plants away from your walls so that pests don't naturally migrate from their home to yours.

Keep the pests from outside... OUTSIDE

All pests were once living outside before they found their way into your home. Other than the infestation, why should they live in your home rent-free, right? So yes, your job is to keep them outside and ensure your home does not open any access opportunity to the pests.

Any connection between your house and the outside world might be problematic in this sense. Pests may get into your home through windows, vents, pipes, to name a few. 

So, if there’s any damage that might lead to an access point, such as ripped window screens or sagging weatherstripping, you should fix it as soon as possible before these animals discover it. Fill minor cracks with caulk, or wider gaps with steel wool - if you detect open spots near pipes or vents. You can always contact your landlord and request for maintenance or repairing jobs to keep pests from getting into your home.

Regular cleaning would make a difference

Pests have a bad reputation for being attracted to messes. Cleaning your home, especially the kitchen, where food leftovers and other possible sustenance are stored, is the greatest method to keep them at bay.

Vacuum your home on a regular basis to remove dust bunnies, which are known to introduce bugs into your living environment. Furthermore, a dusty home can eventually lead to a dust build-up for mold and mildew to grow. When that happens, it can create food sources for other pests, as well as a perfect habitat for them to live in. So now you would have problem after problem in your home!

You may also want to declutter your home as it can also provide hiding places for pests. Do you have a corner of books, magazines, bags or stacks of items? Don’t be surprised if you find cockroaches partying wildly behind those hoards, because it’s a perfect place for them to congregate and hide.

Lastly, make sure you take out the trash regularly. If you are not around often or do not have time to throw it out, make sure to use bins that are properly covered or sealed so as to not attract pests with the smell.

A pest-free home is the key to happiness!

As a tenant, it is important to look after your home as if it was your own. Pests don’t care who lives inside or who owns the place; they care about invading a space and making it theirs too. When doing so, they would most likely cause or carry some diseases into your home. Therefore, as long as you are living in the house, it is your duty to make sure it is safe from pest infestations. You can ask the landlord’s help especially when it comes to fixing the home but as pests tend to infest anyway, identifying what type of pest and knowing how to eliminate them properly is important. But as the saying goes; prevention is better than cure! So even when your home is free from pests, you should think about keeping it that way too. Either way, getting professional pest control would come in handy especially if you’re not a fan of handling these little creatures.

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